How to Write a Motion to a Judge
A motion is a legal document that requests the court to make a specific order or ruling. In criminal and civil cases, motions are used to address procedural or substantive issues. Understanding how to write a motion is essential for achieving your desired outcome in the court of law.
Follow these steps to craft a clear, concise, and well-organized motion:
1. Choose the appropriate format:
Consult your jurisdiction’s local rules to familiarize yourself with the proper formatting requirements of a motion. These rules often specify the font size, paper size, margins, and other formatting details.
2. Create a heading:
At the top of your motion, include the case caption, which consists of:
– The court’s name
– The names of the parties involved (plaintiff and defendant)
– The case number
3. Title your motion:
Identify the subject matter of your motion by titling it accordingly, such as “Motion for Summary Judgment” or “Motion to Suppress Evidence.” Make sure the title clearly communicates the purpose of your document.
4. Body of the motion:
a) Start with an introduction:
Introduce the purpose of your motion and provide an overview of what you will argue throughout your document.
b) Lay out facts relevant to your case:
State all relevant facts that support your argument. These should be specific and verified examples from events that have transpired during your lawsuit or investigation.
c) State the legal basis for your request:
Identify relevant laws, legal principles, or precedents that support your requests. You should cite statutes, regulations, and precedent-setting cases where possible.
d) Present an argument in favor of granting your motion:
Craft well-structured arguments based on relevant facts and legal principles as mentioned above. Make sure each argument is clear and persuasive.
e) Address any potential counterarguments:
Acknowledge any counterarguments that may be raised by your opponent and refute them with facts, laws, or legal principles.
Summarize your main arguments and clearly state the specific relief requested. It is critically important to make sure the judge knows exactly what you are asking for in your motion.
6. Attach a proposed order:
Provide a proposed order that outlines the actions you want the judge to take if your motion is granted. This document should be separate from your motion and have its own heading, similar to the format of your motion.
7. Certificate of Service:
At the end of your motion, include a certificate of service stating that you have provided a copy of your motion (and any attachments) to all parties involved in the case. Be sure to list the date, time, and method of service (e.g., hand delivery or mail).
8. Sign and date:
Sign and date your motion at the bottom. Make sure you also print your name legibly beneath your signature.
9. File the motion:
After completing and signing the motion, file it with the court clerk and provide copies to all parties involved in the case.
Writing a motion can be an involved process; however, following these steps will ensure that you create an organized, persuasive document that appropriately addresses all relevant issues. Keep in mind that researching legal issues related to your specific case and properly formatting the motion are essential to its success.